Iodine is an essential trace mineral and is necessary for the synthesis
of thyroid hormones. In addition, iodine plays a significant role in
maintaining breast health as well as adrenal and immune function. When
taken orally, iodine preparations are converted from iodine to iodide.
The thyroid gland absorbs iodine from the blood, incorporating it into
thyroid hormones. T4 is converted in target tissues to T3 via enzymes
called deiodinases. In addition to supporting thyroid hormone
production, research is showing that iodine acts as an antioxidant
supporting healthy thyroid and protecting a variety of tissues including
mammary tissue, eyes, and the gastrointestinal lining. Iodide acts as
an antioxidant by donating electrons and neutralizing oxygen free
radicals. Iodine has also been shown to normalize elevated adrenal
hormone excretion related to the stress response.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid which is found in protein-containing foods.
The thyroid gland combines L-tyrosine and iodine in order to produce
thyroid hormones. L-tyrosine can be synthesized in the body from the
amino acid phenylalanine, however, stress conditions such as getting
inadequate sleep, prolonged athletic activity, and mental and emotional
stress can reduce the body’s ability to convert phenylalanine to
tyrosine. Supplementation with tyrosine can help support thyroid
function as well other tyrosine, requiring pathways in the body which
includes the synthesis of mood regulating chemicals, such as dopamine,
norepinephrine and epinephrine.
Ashwagandha has been used in Aryuvedic and indigenous medical systems
for over 3,000 years. Ashwagandha has been used for it far reaching
effects which include supporting thyroid health, as well as improving
the stress response, immune strength, antioxidant pathways, healthy
liver function and sleep cycle regulation. Animal studies have
demonstrated Ashwagandha’s thyroid- stimulating effects, specifically
helping to maintain healthy levels of T4 while supporting cellular
antioxidant systems. Another study found that ashwaganda root extract,
given daily for 20 days supported T3 and T4 synthesis and maintained
thyroid health by promoting free radical scavenging activity.
Ashwagandha has also been shown to improve the stress response and
balance cortisol excretion, which is crucial for supporting T4 to T3
Often known as kelp, bladderwrack has been used as food as well as for
medicine for centuries, particularly in Asian cultures, and has a long
history of use for thyroid support. Kelp contains high levels of iodine
as well as the flavonoid fucoxanthin and is reported to have the highest
antioxidant activity of the edible seaweeds.